While Los Angeles Dodgers utility man Chris Taylor enjoyed a breakout season at the plate in 2017, perhaps more impressively was his ability to learn a new position on the fly.
Taylor auditioned in center field during Spring Training last year, then further refined his craft in the opening weeks of April with Triple-A Oklahoma City. As injuries struck the Dodgers, Taylor received a promotion.
After playing some left field, he went on to claim the starting role in center field. Prior to his transition as an outfielder, Taylor exclusively served as an infielder.
Dating back to his time with the Seattle Mariners, he primarily played shortstop, with an occasional spot start at second base or third base. That kind of versatility further increased Taylor’s value to the Dodgers.
In the event that teammate Corey Seager is unable to play shortstop because of his elbow trouble, Taylor is prepared to fill in, via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
“I’m open, I actually enjoy playing multiple positions, but I grew up playing shortstop,” Taylor said. “I always take a lot of pride in my defense at short. I do think it’s a position you have to constantly get your reps in order to keep that aggressive mentality. That’s always been kind of my bread and butter.”
Last season, Taylor appeared at five different positions. But given the Dodgers’ excellent depth at all positions, he isn’t limited to just center field.
Seager is slated to return to action on Monday in a simulated environment against Minor Leaguers. After undergoing a lengthy throwing program, it will be the first time all spring he’ll test his arm at shortstop.
Assuming all goes well, the 2016 National League Rookie of the Year is expected to be in the Dodgers lineup on Wednesday against the Colorado Rockies.